In case you missed it this morning, there was a very frightening moment during the Everton-Tottenham match. While attempting to get on the end of a long ball, Romelu Lukaku and Hugo Lloris had a terrible collision, where Lukaku’s knee ran directly into Hugo Lloris’s face, ending in both players being injured. However, Lloris’s was obviously the one with the more severe injury, as he laid face down on the grass for several minutes. The medical staff was called onto the pitch and stayed with him to check on his condition and help him regain composure. As one would expect following this frightening injury, Tottenham’s second-string keeper, Brad Friedel, started to warm-up to enter the game for his teammate. However, as Lloris was being ushered off of the field he started to fight back suggesting that he wished to stay in the game. While his dedication to his team was admirable, there was no way he should remain on the field following that sort of injury, especially with such a high severity risk of second-impact syndrome, which can significantly worsen any concussion.  But to the surprise of many, the commentators included, he remained on the field, and finished the game.
In the post game interview Tottenham manager, Andre Villas-Boas, was asked about this decision. He responded that he felt it was the right decision despite the fact that medical officials suggested a substitution, and that Lloris had mentioned that he could not remember what happened.  This information provided a clear indication that he should have been removed from the game to ensure future safety. However, this negligence is nothing new for the premier league, as Romelu Lukaku himself had a similar concussion scenario earlier this year. In a game against West Ham, Lukaku was knocked unconscious while scoring the game-winning goal and stated, “I didn’t even know that I scored. …I didn’t remember what happened for a couple of seconds.”  Furthermore, he even played 3 days later in a cup match, showing a complete disregard for any sort of concussion monitoring, which is a serious issue.
In order to assess the English leagues’ true knowledge about concussions, a questionnaire was sent out at the beginning of the 2009/2010 season.  The results were quite surprising where only about three quarters of the teams in England that responded were aware of the Consensus in Sport guidelines pertaining to concussions. Furthermore, only a little over half of the teams used cognitive assessments following a concussion, and only a very small amount followed the review of symptoms and proper rest periods, thus demonstrating a significant mistreatment of the condition. If the English leagues truly want to ensure the safety of their players, they should take after the MLS concussion policies.  The MLS policy is a three-step system, where the player must pass cognitive tests, be symptom-free and have clearance from both the team doctor, and team appointed neuropsychologist, a new requirement for every team. If the English leagues truly want to ensure the greatest quality of football as well as the health of their players, they must take the steps necessary to better address this issue of concussions.